Sri Lanka initiate Next Champ for athletes | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka initiate Next Champ for athletes

26 September, 2021

From left: Crysbro Public Relations Manager Nalin Aluthge, Crysbro Senior Marketing Manager Amores Sellar, NOC Secretary Maxwell de Silva, NOCSL President Suresh Subramaniam and Olympic Silver Medallist Susanthika Jayasinghe at the MoU signing between the NOC and Crysbro

With the Sri Lanka athletes continuing to perform poorly at the Olympic Games, officials at the National Olympic Committee (NOC) have come up with an action plan to assist a set of selected athletes achieve higher standards.

The path to success is commitment, dedication with strenuous training and a ‘never-give-up’ attitude to achieve their dreams. Most of these athletes from the rural regions of Sri Lanka possess talent but lack in financial support, physical and mental strengthening programs. It is with this intention that a program named ‘Next Champ’ was initiated by Crysbro with the NOC. They realize the importance of the contribution by the private sector towards uplifting of standards.

They have identified the talented youth from underprivileged regions and provided them financial assistance to overcome mental worries first. These youths have the potential to enter flagship events such as the Youth Olympic Games in 2022, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the 2023 South Asian Games. The initiative has also successfully produced a collection of athletes who secured gold and silver medals at the 2019 South Asian Games in Nepal.

Much like how a doctor must go through a step-by-step learning experience through degrees and master’s degrees to finally achieving the PhD., a world-class athlete’s single stint at a single event is followed by years, sometimes decades of hard work and dedication.

“There must be a step-by-step process in place to ascertain how we are going to progress and first and foremost is the proper identification of talented athletes, which is very important. For potential athletes, we want to find out whether they are fully committed and also whether their parents are committed because it is a very tough choice,” said Maxwell de Siva Secretary of the NOC.

Applications were called for from the National Federations, which were then shortlisted and monitored by a team from the NOC for progress. This step is also challenging as young athletes may drop out or get injured and the committee has to be cautious throughout the process.

“I am very thankful to the Crysbro team for coming forward at a time when no one else came to support the athletes and through the Crysbro Next Champ program, we found over 20 very talented athletes who are being supported in every aspect,” De Silva noted.

Further, an important area that still lacks attention in Sri Lanka is the psychological and mental health of athletes.

“The athlete needs to understand the importance of this. You need to understand how to manage the pressure. This year it was highlighted more by Yupun, who was running at the Tokyo Olympics. This area has to be relooked at and athletes, as well as the National Federation and the Ministry of Sports need to pay more attention to mental health,” observed De Silva.